The Impact of the NewThe Impact of the New
Michigan Merit Curriculum onMichigan Merit Curriculum on
At-Risk and SpecialAt-...
The New Michigan MeritThe New Michigan Merit
CurriculumCurriculum
The MDE Thesis:The MDE Thesis:
Raising the mandated stat...
The Researcher’s ThesisThe Researcher’s Thesis
By the elimination ofBy the elimination of locallocal school districtschool...
Conflicting TheoriesConflicting Theories
MDE = 16 Mandated Credits will improve testMDE = 16 Mandated Credits will improve...
The Political Winds of ReformThe Political Winds of Reform
The Northwest Breeze Over theThe Northwest Breeze Over the
Grea...
The Missing Data LinkThe Missing Data Link
Michigan High School Data InformationMichigan High School Data Information
 In...
Where Have the C’s GoneWhere Have the C’s Gone
Impressions from the focus groups may suggestImpressions from the focus gro...
Survey Fact #1Survey Fact #1
Most of Michigan’s graduating high schoolMost of Michigan’s graduating high school
seniors ar...
Survey Fact #2Survey Fact #2
The group of Michigan High SchoolThe group of Michigan High School
students most affected by ...
Survey Fact #3Survey Fact #3
The majority of survey respondentsThe majority of survey respondents
expressed great concern ...
EMU Research DesignEMU Research Design
 Phase IPhase I
 Distribution of 1000 email surveys to 527Distribution of 1000 em...
EMU Research DesignEMU Research Design
 Phase IIPhase II
 Four focus groups in Wayne, Kent, Oakland,Four focus groups in...
EMU Research DesignEMU Research Design
 Assimilation of quantitative email surveysAssimilation of quantitative email surv...
Respondents’ DemographicRespondents’ Demographic
Information #1Information #1
High School Student Populations SurveyedHigh...
Respondents’ DemographicRespondents’ Demographic
Information #2Information #2
 52% of the respondents indicated special52...
Respondents’ DemographicRespondents’ Demographic
Information #3Information #3
46%
42%
9%
3%
Urban
Rural
Suburban
Alternati...
Quantitative Survey Results #1Quantitative Survey Results #1
 65% of the respondents indicated that65% of the respondents...
Quantitative Survey Results #2Quantitative Survey Results #2
 90% of the respondents indicated90% of the respondents indi...
Quantitative Survey Results #3Quantitative Survey Results #3
 29% of respondents said they would be29% of respondents sai...
Qualitative Survey Results #1Qualitative Survey Results #1
 93% of the respondent districts indicated93% of the responden...
Qualitative Survey Results #2Qualitative Survey Results #2
 93% of respondent districts93% of respondent districts
indica...
Qualitative Results #3Qualitative Results #3
 87% of the respondents report that they87% of the respondents report that t...
Focus Group QuotesFocus Group Quotes
 ““In terms of the total number of electives,In terms of the total number of electiv...
Focus Group QuotesFocus Group Quotes
 ““I can tell you this, my [sister’s school]I can tell you this, my [sister’s school...
Focus Group QuotesFocus Group Quotes
 ““I would like to be optimistic, but I think it’sI would like to be optimistic, but...
Demographic QualitativeDemographic Qualitative
ImpressionsImpressions
Focus Group FeedbackFocus Group Feedback
 Impressio...
What Can We Expect in the YearWhat Can We Expect in the Year
2011?2011?
 Five main questions for the State of Michigan:Fi...
Question #1Question #1
What will graduation rates look like inWhat will graduation rates look like in
the year 2011?the ye...
Question #2Question #2
What will happen with elective offerings inWhat will happen with elective offerings in
high school?...
Question #3Question #3
What will alternative high school attendanceWhat will alternative high school attendance
look like?...
Question #4Question #4
What will the structured school dayWhat will the structured school day
look like?look like?
80% of ...
Question #5Question #5
Will the 2011 MMC standards help withWill the 2011 MMC standards help with
employability?employabil...
The centralized mandated state reform act ofThe centralized mandated state reform act of
MMC has decimated local school di...
 Existing evidence: we know that special ed andExisting evidence: we know that special ed and
at-risk students have strug...
Local School DistrictsLocal School Districts
MMCMMC
Recommendations/SuggestionsRecommendations/Suggestions
 #1 By fourth ...
Conflicting TheoriesConflicting Theories
Part IIPart II
MDE = 16 Mandated Credits will improve test scores and graduationM...
Questions?Questions?
Thank you,Thank you,
Derrick R. Fries, Ph.D.Derrick R. Fries, Ph.D.
(248) 941-1365(248) 941-1365
East...
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Michigan Merit Curriculum Concerns

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Michigan Merit Curriculum Concerns

  1. 1. The Impact of the NewThe Impact of the New Michigan Merit Curriculum onMichigan Merit Curriculum on At-Risk and SpecialAt-Risk and Special Education StudentsEducation Students Derrick Fries, Ph.D.Derrick Fries, Ph.D. Eastern Michigan UniversityEastern Michigan University Spring/Summer 2007Spring/Summer 2007
  2. 2. The New Michigan MeritThe New Michigan Merit CurriculumCurriculum The MDE Thesis:The MDE Thesis: Raising the mandated state graduationRaising the mandated state graduation requirements from .5 credits to 16 willrequirements from .5 credits to 16 will assist in economic growth and increaseassist in economic growth and increase academic standards. Academic standardsacademic standards. Academic standards in NCLB, MEAP and ACT, along within NCLB, MEAP and ACT, along with graduation rates will improve.graduation rates will improve.
  3. 3. The Researcher’s ThesisThe Researcher’s Thesis By the elimination ofBy the elimination of locallocal school districtschool district core graduation requirements, test scorescore graduation requirements, test scores will suffer and graduation rates will fall.will suffer and graduation rates will fall. The two groups impacting these potentialThe two groups impacting these potential consequences will be special educationconsequences will be special education students and students at-risk.students and students at-risk. *About the researcher: Since 1974, has done every job in*About the researcher: Since 1974, has done every job in K-12 public schools from bus driver to Superintendent.K-12 public schools from bus driver to Superintendent.
  4. 4. Conflicting TheoriesConflicting Theories MDE = 16 Mandated Credits will improve testMDE = 16 Mandated Credits will improve test scores and graduation rates and employability.scores and graduation rates and employability. VSVS The Critical Thesis Question = 16 MandatedThe Critical Thesis Question = 16 Mandated Credits will lower test scores, decreaseCredits will lower test scores, decrease graduation rates and not adversely affectgraduation rates and not adversely affect employability.employability.
  5. 5. The Political Winds of ReformThe Political Winds of Reform The Northwest Breeze Over theThe Northwest Breeze Over the Great LakesGreat Lakes  Only two other states besides MichiganOnly two other states besides Michigan have a .5 credit graduation requirement.have a .5 credit graduation requirement.  The Michigan based economy goes cold.The Michigan based economy goes cold.  Politicians and law makers use thePoliticians and law makers use the increase in graduation requirements as aincrease in graduation requirements as a political reform with little opposition.political reform with little opposition.  Most educational groups and associationsMost educational groups and associations around the state endorse the MMC reform.around the state endorse the MMC reform.
  6. 6. The Missing Data LinkThe Missing Data Link Michigan High School Data InformationMichigan High School Data Information  In 2006, the average state total graduation creditIn 2006, the average state total graduation credit requirement is 22.6.requirement is 22.6.  Approximately 15% of Michigan’s graduatingApproximately 15% of Michigan’s graduating seniors graduate with a GPA less than 2.0.seniors graduate with a GPA less than 2.0.  The total number of special ed students andThe total number of special ed students and students at-risk is growing in the state ofstudents at-risk is growing in the state of Michigan.Michigan.  Therefore ???????????????Therefore ???????????????
  7. 7. Where Have the C’s GoneWhere Have the C’s Gone Impressions from the focus groups may suggestImpressions from the focus groups may suggest that we have a lot less C students (cumulativethat we have a lot less C students (cumulative GPA) in Michigan high schools.GPA) in Michigan high schools. Therefore, the well intended political MMCTherefore, the well intended political MMC reform may be missing its intended target.reform may be missing its intended target.
  8. 8. Survey Fact #1Survey Fact #1 Most of Michigan’s graduating high schoolMost of Michigan’s graduating high school seniors are driven to meet collegeseniors are driven to meet college requirements that greatly exceed MMCrequirements that greatly exceed MMC standards.standards.
  9. 9. Survey Fact #2Survey Fact #2 The group of Michigan High SchoolThe group of Michigan High School students most affected by MMC are at-riskstudents most affected by MMC are at-risk and special education students.and special education students.
  10. 10. Survey Fact #3Survey Fact #3 The majority of survey respondentsThe majority of survey respondents expressed great concern about vocationalexpressed great concern about vocational school attendance under the new MMCschool attendance under the new MMC reform.reform.
  11. 11. EMU Research DesignEMU Research Design  Phase IPhase I  Distribution of 1000 email surveys to 527Distribution of 1000 email surveys to 527 Michigan School District Administrators (HighMichigan School District Administrators (High School Principals and Assistant Principals,School Principals and Assistant Principals, Curriculum Directors, Special EducationCurriculum Directors, Special Education Directors, Alternative High School Principals)Directors, Alternative High School Principals)  Response Rate 8%Response Rate 8%
  12. 12. EMU Research DesignEMU Research Design  Phase IIPhase II  Four focus groups in Wayne, Kent, Oakland,Four focus groups in Wayne, Kent, Oakland, and Eastern Upper Peninsula ISDs.and Eastern Upper Peninsula ISDs.  Special Ed Directors, High School PrincipalsSpecial Ed Directors, High School Principals and Alternative Ed Principalsand Alternative Ed Principals  90 Minute focus group questions and90 Minute focus group questions and discussions.discussions.  35 Focus group participants.35 Focus group participants.
  13. 13. EMU Research DesignEMU Research Design  Assimilation of quantitative email surveysAssimilation of quantitative email surveys and qualitative focus group responsesand qualitative focus group responses
  14. 14. Respondents’ DemographicRespondents’ Demographic Information #1Information #1 High School Student Populations SurveyedHigh School Student Populations Surveyed 9% 16% 34% 33% 8% Less Than 500 500-999 1,000-1,499 1,500-1,999 2000 Plus
  15. 15. Respondents’ DemographicRespondents’ Demographic Information #2Information #2  52% of the respondents indicated special52% of the respondents indicated special education high school percentage wheneducation high school percentage when compared to general education students iscompared to general education students is between 11-15%between 11-15%
  16. 16. Respondents’ DemographicRespondents’ Demographic Information #3Information #3 46% 42% 9% 3% Urban Rural Suburban Alternative High School
  17. 17. Quantitative Survey Results #1Quantitative Survey Results #1  65% of the respondents indicated that65% of the respondents indicated that graduation requirements at their highgraduation requirements at their high school prior to MMC was between 21-23school prior to MMC was between 21-23 credits.credits.  90% of respondents indicated that no90% of respondents indicated that no changes would be made to their totalchanges would be made to their total graduation requirements post MMCgraduation requirements post MMC reform.reform.
  18. 18. Quantitative Survey Results #2Quantitative Survey Results #2  90% of the respondents indicated90% of the respondents indicated modifications in the middle schoolmodifications in the middle school curriculum in meeting the MMCcurriculum in meeting the MMC requirements.requirements.  63% of the respondents said that63% of the respondents said that elective credit offerings will decrease.elective credit offerings will decrease.
  19. 19. Quantitative Survey Results #3Quantitative Survey Results #3  29% of respondents said they would be29% of respondents said they would be implementing a tri-semester scheduleimplementing a tri-semester schedule effective September 2007.effective September 2007.  40% of respondent districts responded a40% of respondent districts responded a decrease in vocational educationdecrease in vocational education participation by the year 2011.participation by the year 2011.
  20. 20. Qualitative Survey Results #1Qualitative Survey Results #1  93% of the respondent districts indicated93% of the respondent districts indicated that from 2004 to 2007, alternative highthat from 2004 to 2007, alternative high school student attendance numbers hasschool student attendance numbers has either stayed the same or increased.either stayed the same or increased.  99% of the respondent school districts99% of the respondent school districts indicatedindicated NONO additional staff would beadditional staff would be hired to assist alternative ed and at-riskhired to assist alternative ed and at-risk students in meeting the new MMCstudents in meeting the new MMC standards.standards.
  21. 21. Qualitative Survey Results #2Qualitative Survey Results #2  93% of respondent districts93% of respondent districts indicated that the new MMCindicated that the new MMC graduation standards wouldgraduation standards would decrease graduation rates.decrease graduation rates.
  22. 22. Qualitative Results #3Qualitative Results #3  87% of the respondents report that they87% of the respondents report that they are going to continue providing academicare going to continue providing academic support systems and resources for at-risksupport systems and resources for at-risk and special education students in theand special education students in the 2007-2008 school year.2007-2008 school year.  91% of the respondents are either unsure91% of the respondents are either unsure or are expecting no new support systemsor are expecting no new support systems to be in place for the MMC reform.to be in place for the MMC reform.
  23. 23. Focus Group QuotesFocus Group Quotes  ““In terms of the total number of electives,In terms of the total number of electives, for us, it is going down by about threefor us, it is going down by about three credits as we funnel more kids into thosecredits as we funnel more kids into those core areas. So our elective courses arecore areas. So our elective courses are taking the hits, so to speak.” 6/13/2007taking the hits, so to speak.” 6/13/2007  ““We are looking at the tri-mester, but weWe are looking at the tri-mester, but we are also looking at less electives if weare also looking at less electives if we don’t make that change.” 6/27/2007don’t make that change.” 6/27/2007
  24. 24. Focus Group QuotesFocus Group Quotes  ““I can tell you this, my [sister’s school]I can tell you this, my [sister’s school] moved to tri-mesters and the staff is notmoved to tri-mesters and the staff is not happy!” 6/27/2007happy!” 6/27/2007  ““In our particular case, we’reIn our particular case, we’re going to a 75 minute period,going to a 75 minute period, which means we gain almostwhich means we gain almost 20 minutes per hour.” 6/13/200720 minutes per hour.” 6/13/2007
  25. 25. Focus Group QuotesFocus Group Quotes  ““I would like to be optimistic, but I think it’sI would like to be optimistic, but I think it’s going to be very difficult for special ed kids togoing to be very difficult for special ed kids to graduate under these terms.” 6/27/2007graduate under these terms.” 6/27/2007  ““And I just wand to emphasize not only forAnd I just wand to emphasize not only for special ed students, but also for general edspecial ed students, but also for general ed students who may be weak or in that lowstudents who may be weak or in that low average range, it’s going to be difficult foraverage range, it’s going to be difficult for them too.” 6/27/2007them too.” 6/27/2007  ““I think for the challenged students who areI think for the challenged students who are not special ed eligible, [the graduation rate]not special ed eligible, [the graduation rate] may decrease.” 6/27/2007may decrease.” 6/27/2007
  26. 26. Demographic QualitativeDemographic Qualitative ImpressionsImpressions Focus Group FeedbackFocus Group Feedback  Impression #1Impression #1  Lots of frustration about how to make MMC workLots of frustration about how to make MMC work  Impression #2Impression #2  Lots of frustration about how to make it work withLots of frustration about how to make it work with accountability standards (Federal and State)accountability standards (Federal and State)  Impression #3Impression #3  Many districts are taking on a “wait and see”Many districts are taking on a “wait and see” attitudeattitude
  27. 27. What Can We Expect in the YearWhat Can We Expect in the Year 2011?2011?  Five main questions for the State of Michigan:Five main questions for the State of Michigan:  Q1: What will graduation rates look like?Q1: What will graduation rates look like?  Q2: What will happen with elective offerings in highQ2: What will happen with elective offerings in high school?school?  Q3: What will alternative high school attendance lookQ3: What will alternative high school attendance look like?like?  Q4: What will the structured school day look like?Q4: What will the structured school day look like?  Q5: Will the 2011 MMC standards help withQ5: Will the 2011 MMC standards help with employability?employability?
  28. 28. Question #1Question #1 What will graduation rates look like inWhat will graduation rates look like in the year 2011?the year 2011? Contrary to the best intentions of the state,Contrary to the best intentions of the state, 93% of the respondents said they will most93% of the respondents said they will most likely decrease.likely decrease.
  29. 29. Question #2Question #2 What will happen with elective offerings inWhat will happen with elective offerings in high school?high school? Even with the overwhelming integration ofEven with the overwhelming integration of tri-semesters, 63% of respondents saidtri-semesters, 63% of respondents said that elective offerings for students willthat elective offerings for students will most likely decrease.most likely decrease.
  30. 30. Question #3Question #3 What will alternative high school attendanceWhat will alternative high school attendance look like?look like? 95% of95% of rrespondents stated thatespondents stated that there willthere will be a major increase inbe a major increase in both desboth desireire of students andof students and placemeplacementnt in alternativein alternative highhigh schools.schools.
  31. 31. Question #4Question #4 What will the structured school dayWhat will the structured school day look like?look like? 80% of respondents said80% of respondents said classes will be longer.classes will be longer.
  32. 32. Question #5Question #5 Will the 2011 MMC standards help withWill the 2011 MMC standards help with employability?employability? 88% of the respondents say88% of the respondents say NO.NO.
  33. 33. The centralized mandated state reform act ofThe centralized mandated state reform act of MMC has decimated local school districtMMC has decimated local school district governments and autonomy. Local economygovernments and autonomy. Local economy allows school districts to customizeallows school districts to customize graduation requirements to their uniquegraduation requirements to their unique student populations. Centralized statestudent populations. Centralized state control could create catastrophic academiccontrol could create catastrophic academic hardships for special ed and at-risk students,hardships for special ed and at-risk students, ultimatelyultimately increasingincreasing drop-out rates.drop-out rates.
  34. 34.  Existing evidence: we know that special ed andExisting evidence: we know that special ed and at-risk students have struggled with local districtat-risk students have struggled with local district graduation requirements prior to the MMCgraduation requirements prior to the MMC reform.reform.  Now: we have radically increased the graduationNow: we have radically increased the graduation bar, yet, 98% of respondent school districts havebar, yet, 98% of respondent school districts have developeddeveloped nono intervention plans to assist thisintervention plans to assist this challenging population.challenging population.
  35. 35. Local School DistrictsLocal School Districts MMCMMC Recommendations/SuggestionsRecommendations/Suggestions  #1 By fourth grade we need to profile and#1 By fourth grade we need to profile and intervene academically challenged students.intervene academically challenged students.  #2 Academically challenged students need#2 Academically challenged students need year-round schooling – must be a summeryear-round schooling – must be a summer mandate.mandate.  #3 Identify at-risk learners LEARNING STYLES#3 Identify at-risk learners LEARNING STYLES and tag them with it. (IEP Concept)and tag them with it. (IEP Concept)  #4 School must be incorporate more technology#4 School must be incorporate more technology to make learningto make learning entertainingentertaining andand funfun..
  36. 36. Conflicting TheoriesConflicting Theories Part IIPart II MDE = 16 Mandated Credits will improve test scores and graduationMDE = 16 Mandated Credits will improve test scores and graduation rates and employability.rates and employability. VSVS The Critical Thesis Question = 16 Mandated Credits will lower testThe Critical Thesis Question = 16 Mandated Credits will lower test scores, decrease graduation rates and not adversely affectscores, decrease graduation rates and not adversely affect employability.employability. The answer to which theory is most prevalentThe answer to which theory is most prevalent in 2011 rests in the hands of local schoolin 2011 rests in the hands of local school district administrators. If the state’s theory isdistrict administrators. If the state’s theory is proven to be correct, we will need majorproven to be correct, we will need major interventions for at-risk and special edinterventions for at-risk and special ed students to begin immediately.students to begin immediately.
  37. 37. Questions?Questions? Thank you,Thank you, Derrick R. Fries, Ph.D.Derrick R. Fries, Ph.D. (248) 941-1365(248) 941-1365 Eastern Michigan UniversityEastern Michigan University

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